In the name of an assault on “totalization” and “identity,” a number of contemporary theorists have been busily washing Marxism’s dialectical and utopian projects down the plug-hole of postmodernism and “post-politics.” A case in point is recent interpretation of one of the greatest twentieth-century philosophers, Theodor Adorno. In this powerful book, Fredric Jameson proposes a radically different reading of Adorno’s work, especially of his major works on philosophy and aesthetics: Negative Dialectics and Aesthetic Theory.
Jameson argues persuasively that Adorno’s contribution to the development of Marxism remains unique and indispensable. He shows how Adorno’s work on aesthetics performs deconstructive operations yet is in sharp distinction to the now canonical deconstructive genre of writing. He explores the complexity of Adorno’s very timely affirmation of philosophy — of its possibility after the “end” of grand theory. Above all, he illuminates the subtlety and richness of Adorno’s continuing emphasis on late capitalism as a totality within the very forms of our culture. In its lucidity, Late Marxism echoes the writing of its subject, to whose critical, utopian intelligence Jameson remains faithful.